Taking a stand on the stairs

If you’re ever in the vicinity of a flight of stairs and you hear a woman yelling at her kids and cursing the elevator, that’s just me.  Make sure you say hello.
It all started when I attended the College of Wooster.  My study room was on the third floor of the geology building and one year for my New Year’s resolution, I vowed I would never that elevator again.  Surely I could walk up three flights of stairs.  It would be good for me, especially based on the amount of late night pizza I liked to consume.
That resolution quickly became the best resolution of my life.  I stuck with it not just that year, but ever since that year.  (I do have a limit, though.  Hotels and other skyscrapers I most definitely take the fancy box with the bright buttons.)  To this day, I am quite happy about the decision I made.
My children, however, tend to disagree.  They haven’t quite grasped the concept of enjoying walking up stairs as much as I have, but it’s not for lack of trying.  I also make a point of parking far away in parking lots, which may be #42 on the list of why I’m a bad mom.
Living where we do, we don’t encounter very many elevator situations.  High rises in Wayne County aren’t that prevalent, but that doesn’t mean that in our very special and dear library there isn’t a set of eight stairs (yes, only eight – compare that to the 1,860 stairs in the Empire State Building) right next to an elevator.  And while the elevator is perfect for moms with strollers and folks who are unable to climb those eight stairs, that mechanical people raiser just beams in the fluorescent light to my children.  
“Can we take the elevator? Please please please?”
“Nope,” I respond, sticking to my guns.
“But whyyyyy?”
And that’s where I had to come up with a reason better than, “when mommy was in college and ate too much pizza she decided to always take the stairs and that’s just how it’s going to be.”  So instead, I thought about it and decided to tell them, “because someday you might not be able to take the stairs, and if that day comes, you’re going to really wish you could.  So just get it all in now.”
And that’s the other gun I’m sticking to. 
I’m not sure they quite understand, but if repetition has anything to do with it, it’ll sink in. 
We recently stayed on the fourth floor of a hotel that had an elevator right next to the stairwell.  One afternoon as we were headed down, a woman joined us in the elevator wearing complete running gear.  Ipod booming, stretching her calves, she rode the elevator down four flights so that she could go out for a jog, or maybe even to the gym to do the stair-machine.
My oldest was the first to catch on, bless her, and gave the most appropriate eye-roll I’ve seen in a long time.
America is well known for being overweight, unhealthy, and out of shape.  A friend of mine blames it all on ranch dressing.  I’m giving some blame to the elevator, seeing as you burn about 10 calories per flight of stairs and about negative three standing and waiting for an elevator.
With any hope, my kids will grow up to embrace their youth and be stair steppers, even without the resolution and the late night pizza, and learn to appreciate the fact that they can walk up and down stairs as they please.  Even better? Someday they’ll thank me.
I just pray that they don’t thank me by a trip to New York City or Toronto; The CN Tower has 2,579 steps.


oliviadog said…
Just found your blog while looking for a recipe to make baked beans & rice. I love your idea about always taking stairs and am officially inspired. With the exception of luggage and grocery hauls, I am going to start doing this! We live on the fourth floor, but the stairwell is nice and wide so pretty comfy. The other bonus is that my little toddler loves taking stairs. Just curious, since this has been your M.O. since college, when did your kids start resenting the stairs?

I look forward to more of your entries!

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